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# According to results from brain scans, the insulaa brain area

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Re: According to results from brain scans, the insulaa brain area [#permalink]
C. In the study, the credit card buyers were not, on average, significantly more interested in attending the event than the cash buyers were.

The reasoning in the passage assumes that the credit card buyers and cash buyers were not significantly more interested in attending the event, as this would provide an alternative explanation for the difference in bidding amounts. If the credit card buyers were inherently more interested in the event, then their willingness to bid higher might not be solely attributed to the reduced pain of payment associated with credit cards. Thank you for correcting me, and I apologize for the incorrect response earlier.
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According to results from brain scans, the insulaa brain area [#permalink]
MartyMurray wrote:
According to results from brain scans, the insula―a brain area associated in part with pain-exhibits heightened activity when consumers think about how much a purchase will cost. In a recent study, researchers auctioned off tickets to a sold-out event. Half the study participants were to use cash to buy the tickets, while the other half were to pay by credit card. The credit card buyers bid, on average, twice as much as the cash buyers bid. This shows that credit cards, because they involve paying later, limit consumers' thoughts about price: credit card users are willing to spend more money because they experience less pain.

So, the argument works even if this choice is not true.

Honestly, I don't really like this incorrect choice because I could see it being considered correct in a CR question, but since there are clear reasons to choose (C) over this choice, the question is gettable.

Can you please explain what do you mean by the text I have highlighted?
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Re: According to results from brain scans, the insulaa brain area [#permalink]
GMATNinja - Can you please explain this?
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Re: According to results from brain scans, the insulaa brain area [#permalink]
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nikitathegreat wrote:
GMATNinja - Can you please explain this?

The author concludes that credit cards limit consumers' thoughts about price. Why? Because you pay later with credit cards. And if you think less about spending money, then you’re not going to experience as much pain.

The author supports this conclusion by citing the study's results in which, for the same item, credit card buyers bid twice as much as cash buyers. The author claims that card users spend more because they think less about the money they're spending.

But what if the credit card people simply really, really want to go to the concert? In that case, they're paying more for an entirely different reason -- not because they aren't thinking about the price.

So, to reach the author's conclusion, we must assume that the credit card buyers were NOT significantly more interested in going to the concert. That's why (C) is the correct answer.

I hope that helps!
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According to results from brain scans, the insulaa brain area [#permalink]
MartyMurray wrote:
According to results from brain scans, the insula―a brain area associated in part with pain-exhibits heightened activity when consumers think about how much a purchase will cost. In a recent study, researchers auctioned off tickets to a sold-out event. Half the study participants were to use cash to buy the tickets, while the other half were to pay by credit card. The credit card buyers bid, on average, twice as much as the cash buyers bid. This shows that credit cards, because they involve paying later, limit consumers' thoughts about price: credit card users are willing to spend more money because they experience less pain.

Reviewing the argument, we see that the conclusion is the following:

credit cards, because they involve paying later, limit consumers' thoughts about price: credit card users are willing to spend more money because they experience less pain

The support for the conclusion is the following:

In a recent study, researchers auctioned off tickets to a sold-out event. Half the study participants were to use cash to buy the tickets, while the other half were to pay by credit card. The credit card buyers bid, on average, twice as much as the cash buyers bid.

We see that the basic idea of the argument is that people's use of credit cards caused them to spend more money.

The correct answer will state an assumption on which that reasoning relies.

A. In the study, the participants did not generally prefer to pay for tickets with a check drawn from a bank.

The passage says that, in the study, "half the study participants were to use cash to buy the tickets, while the other half were to pay by credit card."

Then, the support for the conclusion is that "the credit card buyers bid, on average, twice as much as the cash buyers bid."

Notice that that information supports the conclusion regardless of whether the participants would have preferred to pay by check. After all, none of the participants did pay by check. They all used cash or credit cards, and the conclusion is about a comparison between cash and credit cards. So, even if the participants DID generally prefer to pay for tickets with a check, the argument still works.

Eliminate.

B. Most people exhibit similar levels of insula activity when thinking about a product's price.

Notice that the argument is about what people do when they experience "less pain."

Even if this choice is not true and people DO NOT exhibit similar levels of insula activity when thinking about a product's price, it could still be that case that they all experience less pain when using a credit card than when using cash.

So, the logic of the argument holds regardless of whether this choice is true.

Eliminate.

NM - In option choice B, can we say that the no. of people holding credit cards visited more than the no. of people holding cash. Hence, while they bid twice as much as cash buyers did, the proportionality can be less for credit buyers.

EX: Cash buyers = 10 and bid 10 people
Credit buyers = 100 bid = 20 people

So, while 2X credit buyers bid but thats 20% where cash buyer bid 100% and hence we cannot conclude that credit buyers experience less pain?

GMATNinja - IS this the right explanation?

C. In the study, the credit card buyers were not, on average, significantly more interested in attending the event than the cash buyers were.

In making the argument, the author uses the fact that "the credit card buyers bid, on average, twice as much as the cash buyers bid" to support the conclusion that "credit cards, because they involve paying later, limit consumers' thoughts about price: credit card users are willing to spend more money because they experience less pain."

Notice that, in doing so, the author is assuming that the credit card users' experiencing less pain is the cause of their bidding more.

So, what if this choice is not true? What if the credit card buyers WERE significantly more interested in attending the event? In that case, the argument would fall apart. After all, if they were more interested in attending the event, then it could be that interest, rather than their experiencing less pain, that caused them to bid higher.

So, the author must be assuming that this choice is true, and that the credit card buyers were NOT significantly more interested.

Keep.

D. Consumers cannot control the amount of time they spend thinking about an item's price.

Notice that this choice is about something different from what the argument is about.

The argument is about what consumers do when they experience "less pain" when they think about a price. The amount of time consumers spend thinking about a price does not affect how much pain they experience while they are thinking about that price.

So, this choice has no effect on the argument. After all, even if consumers CAN control the amount of time they spend thinking about an item's price, they may still experience less pain while they are thinking about that price if they are using a credit card.

Eliminate.

E. In general, consumers do not consider an item's price before deciding on a payment method.

This choice does not have to be true for the argument to work. After all, even if consumers do consider an item's price before deciding on a payment method, they could still consider it after deciding on a payment method as well. So, even if this choice is not true, the conclusion "credit cards, because they involve paying later, limit consumers' thoughts about price," could still be true.

Another way to look at this choice is to see that, even if, in general, consumers DO consider an item's price before deciding on a payment method, it could still be that, in cases in which they consider the price after deciding on a payment method, "credit cards ... limit consumers' thoughts about price."

So, the argument works even if this choice is not true.

Honestly, I don't really like this incorrect choice because I could see it being considered correct in a CR question, but since there are clear reasons to choose (C) over this choice, the question is gettable.

­NM - In option choice B, can we say that the no. of people holding credit cards visited more than the no. of people holding cash. Hence, while they bid twice as much as cash buyers did, the proportionality can be less for credit buyers.

EX: Cash buyers = 10 and bid 10 people
Credit buyers = 100 bid = 20 people

So, while 2X credit buyers bid but thats 20% where cash buyer bid 100% and hence we cannot conclude that credit buyers experience less pain?

GMATNinja - IS this the right explanation?
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Re: According to results from brain scans, the insulaa brain area [#permalink]
­
Quote:
­NM - In option choice B, can we say that the no. of people holding credit cards visited more than the no. of people holding cash. Hence, while they bid twice as much as cash buyers did, the proportionality can be less for credit buyers.

EX: Cash buyers = 10 and bid 10 people
Credit buyers = 100 bid = 20 people

So, while 2X credit buyers bid but thats 20% where cash buyer bid 100% and hence we cannot conclude that credit buyers experience less pain?

Hi nikitathegreat

Happy to chip in.

Although it's good that you're analyzing this problem from multiple angles, I'm afraid your scenario doesn't apply to this question.

As per the data given to us in the stimulus/passage:
Quote:
Half the study participants were to use cash to buy the tickets, while the other half were to pay by credit card. The credit card buyers bid, on average, twice as much as the cash buyers bid.

Regardless of the actual number of participants, we can clearly see that the number of people buying by cash was equal to the number of people buying by credit card. The credit card buyers bid (or offered), on average, twice as much as the cash buyers bid (or offered) for those tickets.

In other words,
Cash buyers = 10; Average Offer for the ticket = \$100
Credit Card buyers = 10; Average Offer for the ticket = \$200.

This is the right way to interpret the given data. I hope you see why your objection won't work in this situation. In fact, if we must go down this path, a better, more plausible objection could be that out of the 10 Credit Card Buyers, most offered/bid as much as the average offer of Cash buyers. It was just one outlier who offered a very high bid, because of which the average bid for CC buyers went up.
For instance, of the \$2000 collected from 10 CC buyers, it could be that 9 offered \$100 each (same as cash buyers did), but 1 CC buyer offered \$1100 for a ticket (instead of \$100). So, this person skewed the data in favour of the conclusion. This could weaken the argument or at least lead to a good weakener.

Coming to Choice B:
Quote:
B. Most people exhibit similar levels of insula activity when thinking about a product's price.

This statement merely confirms the first part of the stimulus - that there's a connection between insula activity and thinking about price. However, this statement does not tell us anything about the experiment conducted. It does not relate to Cash buyers and CC buyers, and who feels more pain and who less.

Hope this helps.
Happy learning!

-Abhishek ­
Re: According to results from brain scans, the insulaa brain area [#permalink]
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